Photo: 20794631 | Trek and Shoot | Dreamstime
Trailers Dreamstime Trekandshoot 20794631

Trailer orders surge in March, further increasing pent-up demand

April 15, 2022
March’s strong order total is expected to raise backlogs over the 200,000-unit mark for the first time since May 2021, according to industry analysts.

Preliminary reports within the commercial vehicle space show that trailer orders have reached their highest level since December 2020. The question remains: Can trailer OEMs sustain these orders?

FTR Transportation Intelligence data reveals that preliminary trailer orders surged in March to 36,200 units, an increase of 41% month-over-month and 29% year-over-year. According to FTR, trailer orders for the past 12 months have totaled 252,000 units. Preliminary reports from ACT Research show that trailer bookings of 37,900 units were up 40% month-over-month and 28% better year-over-year.

Most of the major OEMs registered sturdy numbers showing significant increases versus the past six months. March’s strong order total is expected to raise backlogs over the 200,000-unit mark for the first time since May 2021, FTR noted.

See also: Class 8 orders remain level as OEMs continue to fight supply chain constraints

“This is great news for the trailer market,” said Don Ake, FTR’s VP of commercial vehicles. “Most of the big OEMs were stuck in a holding pattern on orders since the supply chain tightened. The fact they have the confidence now to enter more orders may indicate that supplier deliveries are showing improvement, and labor shortages are abating.”

“It is uncertain if this level of orders can be sustained,” Ake added. “However, it does signal an expectation that build rates could increase later this year. Because OEMs had their output limited by the supply chain, we estimate that pent-up demand for trailers could be as high as 100,000 units. It will take an extended time for OEMs to catch up with fleet requirements once the supply chain opens up.”

ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report provides a monthly review of the current U.S. trailer market statistics as well as trailer OEM build plans and market indicators divided by all major trailer types, including backlogs, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and factory shipments.

See also: Growing trailer backlog challenges manufacturers

“Our discussions this month revealed a variation in order acceptance strategies across the industry,” noted Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “Some OEMs noted that their extremely low order volume was the result of a ‘sell-out’ of their projected available production slots for the remainder of the year. Others, accepting higher order volumes, were in the process of filling their remaining production capacity for 2022.”

Maly also mentioned some unwillingness for OEMs to officially open 2023 order boards, expressing concerns about setting pricing as a major challenge.

“A positive development was indication that some supply-chain relief was beginning to be felt,” Maly said. “Final figures for the month will likely reveal total industry backlog now stretching into December at current production rates, heavily influenced by dry van and reefer commitments that basically fill their year.”

About the Author

FleetOwner Staff

Our Editorial Team

Kevin Jones, Editorial Director, Commercial Vehicle Group

Josh Fisher, Editor-in-Chief

Jade Brasher, Senior Editor

Jeremy Wolfe, Editor

Jenna Hume, Digital Editor

Eric Van Egeren, Art Director

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry at our April 16th webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive pay...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!